The Miami RedHawks will be hosting a tournament, their third hosting event in the last three years. In 2011-12, Miami had a match against Kentucky and in 2012-13 they hosted Kentucky, Ohio State, and Kent State. This year, they will be hosting the likely biggest tournament of the Fall.
Miami has yet to play a game this year, their first tournament is at Bowling Green this Saturday. Joining them will be Bowling Green, Grand Valley, and Kent State. They’ve showed promise each of the last two seasons, and have picked up wins against Towson and Bowling Green last year. However they, and another team going to this tournament, are sort of an unknown this early in the season. Building off of last year is definitely a possibility, and last year they played a brutal schedule which hampered their record a little bit.
They are also joined by the three other Ohio teams. Bowling Green is also something of an enigma. They’ve always been a competitive team, but they took two big losses to two top level teams (GV and CMU), and also crushed a new team (Davenport), so it’s hard to make anything of them thus far. They’re going to host GV, Kent, and Miami this weekend, so we might be able to determine their early progress then. Ohio State and Kent State have been billed as title contenders this year, and after Kent rolled through the competition at their home tournament (wins over MSU, CMU, SVSU, and UK), they got shut down by OSU in Columbus.
An East Coast team is also making the trip to Oxford- the Dukes of James Madison will bring their 6-0 record to Ohio. After two seasons in the league (and two National Quarterfinals finishes) the Dukes have been garnering lots of praise. They’ve been annihilating their East Coast brethren this year to a tune of +28 points through six games. At this tournament they’ll face some stiff competition, like 8 of the 9 champions to this point.
Western Kentucky is another team heading to the RedHawk Invite, a team that is consistently good and can hang with anyone. They have a lot of talent and good teamwork, but are still looking for that breakout season. They walloped Towson before being walloped by Kent State in the National Championship Tournament, as well as defeating SVSU in OT at the BEAST II before getting taken down by JMU in the same tournament. This could be the start for a very good Hilltopper season, maybe even a Final Four run.
Finally, two Michigan rivals will head to Ohio for the tournament- SVSU and GVSU. Both play matches this weekend, SVSU hosts MSU on Sunday and GVSU heads to BGSU. Grand Valley is coming off a National Championship season, and have thoroughly defeated the competition. They are 5-0, and are 34-0 in points this year against solid competition. Saginaw had a great tournament at Kent State, finishing second, and fought GVSU hard at home.
When you look at the tournament as a whole, you see the #1, #2, #5, #6, #7, #9, #16, and #17 teams in the country according to preseason Captains’ ranking. You also see the National Champion, a Final Four team, four National Quarterfinalist teams, and two teams that have been established in the league for a while.
Basically, this tournament will be nuts.